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HC sets aside CIT’s award on regularization of services of casual employees of AIR Srinagar

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Srinagar: J&K High Court on Thursday set aside an award by the Central Industrial Tribunal and a single bench judgment that ordered grant of temporary status and regularization of services of the members of Casual Labor Employees Association, Radio Kashmir Srinagar.

Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Mohammad Akram Chowdhary allowed an appeal by the Director General, All India Radio (AIR), and set aside the award of the Tribunal and the judgment of the Writ Court “except to the extent concerning two casual employees Nazir Ahmad Rather and Mohammad Rafiq Baba”.

The duo was engaged as casual laborers as per the Casual Laborers (Grant of Temporary Status and Regularization) Scheme of 1993 of the Government of India.

The AIR authorities have been directed to consider the cases of these two workers.

“If they are found to be fulfilling all the eligibility criteria under the 1993 scheme, they shall be granted the temporary status and other benefits retrospectively from the date persons similarly placed were granted such benefit(s),” directed the judges.

They held that the arguments put forward by the lawyer representing the other 35 casual laborers “are not attracted to the case in context of the fundamental question involved concerning applicability of the 1993 scheme to the respondents and the frame of the reference made by the Central government to the Tribunal”.

The division bench further said that the award made by the Tribunal and the judgment passed by the Writ Court of J&K High Court did not withstood the test of law.

It referred to the Prasar Bharti, communication OM No.03/04/2019-LC dated 22.08.2019 promulgating a new scheme for regularization of irregular appointments/engagements in Prasar Bharati (All India Radio & Doordarshan).

The communication is in pursuance of Department of Personnel & Trainings OM No.49019/1/2006-Estt(C) dated 11.12.2006 as per the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court in Secretary, State of Karnataka v Uma Devi, CA No.3595-3612 of 1999.

The counsel for the Prasar Bharati had produced a copy of the aforesaid scheme before the division bench of J&K High Court, stating that the petitioner casual laborers are entitled to be considered under the new scheme.

“They could be so considered under the said scheme, subject, of course, to the condition if they fulfill the relevant eligibility and other criteria prescribed therein,” he told the court.

However, the court steered clear of making any direction in that behalf.

“We would leave it to the option of the respondent-claimants to seek implementation thereof vis-à-vis them, if they consider themselves to be eligible there under and if they so desire,” said the judges.

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